The sunny island of Cyprus is the third largest Mediterranean Island (after Sicily and Sardinia). It sits in the Eastern Mediterranean – a short hop to Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. Its culture is predominantly Greek. The country’s cuisine melds the best of these cultures to create fragrant, spice-forward dishes focused on seafood, lamb, eggplant, and of course, the Greek staples of phyllo, sheep’s cheese (Feta, Halloumi) and yogurt.
Chef Konstantinos Pitsillides, a Cypriot native, has been wowing Philadelphia with his authentic Cypriot cuisine at an unassuming restaurant called Kanella, which means cinnamon in Greek. To counteract winter’s dark days, the Philadelphia Baillage of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs decided to hold a pre-Spring dinner at Kanella – hoping that the sun-drenched cuisine of the Cyprus would shake the winter blues away!
Vice Conseiller Gastronomique Niels Haun, Vice Charge de Presse Paul Koulogeorge, and Chevalier Bruce Zappan organized a lovely dinner paired with (predominantly) Greek wines. Chef Pitsillides prepared a hearty feast of lamb keftedes bathed in homemade yogurt, flavorful dips meant to be scooped with freshly baked Pita, a zesty salad, and great fish and lamb dishes spiced perfectly. To top it off, diners enjoyed Galactoboureko or milk-custard cake soaked in orange blossom water. Vice Charge de Press Koulogeorge, a Greek-American, noted that this dessert may have been better than his mother’s own version, though he insisted on plausible deniability in case his mother would read this article!
Dips (Pumpkin/Feta, Fava and Muhamara)
Various Champagnes for Tasting
Syrian Peasant Salad
Yogurt Sauce, Sumac
Kourtaki Assyrtiko, Santorini 2017
Scallop and Prawn Napoleon
Filo, Tahini Remoulade
Skouras Moscofilero, Peloponnese 2017
Noisette Potato, Confit of Celery, Capers, Sage
Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey Chambertin, Vieilles Vigne 2010
Grilled Lamb Chops
Mace, Baby Eggplant, Thyme, Tomato, Middle Eastern Cous Cous
Domaine Laurent Combier Clos des Grives, Crozes-Hermitage 2009
Alpha Estate Syrah-Xinomavro-Merlot 2011
Photos by Paul Koulogeorge